Legal & Co | Pre-nuptial agreements
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A pre-nuptial agreement clearly sets out what happens in the event a marriage comes to an end.
A significant percentage of marriages, currently around 50%, now end in divorce.
Prenuptial or pre-marital agreements give clarity on what happens at the point a marriage fails. It sets out what happens to assets and finances owned prior to the marriage. It also makes arrangements for those jointly acquired during the marriage. You may agree not to make a claim on your partner or them on you. In the event of separation or divorce, the two of you agree what should happen to any children, who cares for them and what financial provision there should be.
Agreements made before marriage can be drafted by us and we will explain to you what the agreement is, what legal rights this gives you and what rights it gives your partner. We discuss your circumstances, and draft an agreement that reflects that. Using plain and simple English, we make certain you understand the terms before you sign.

Why do I need a prenuptial agreement

  • If you are thinking of getting married and want to protect your property in case it doesn’t work out.
  • If you are about to marry for the second time and want to limit any potential claims on the settlement you received from your first marriage if things go wrong again.
  • If you are a widower thinking of marrying again and you want to protect your assets in case things go wrong.
  • If you are about to marry but worry that if things go wrong you could end up in a costly and lengthy argument about “who gets what”
  • If you want to prevent your wealth from being gifted away shortly before break-up
  • If you want to protect business assets from being split and sold
  • If you are about to marry for the second time but want to protect your assets to ensure you have something to leave in your will to the children from your first marriage if your new relationship breaks down.

Will a prenuptial agreement stand up in court

When you marry your assets become ‘matrimonial assets’ and, unless specifically protected, they can be considered for division between you within divorce proceedings. The main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to limit the potential claims on the assets of one of the parties to the marriage and avoid costly litigation over “who gets what”.
At present a prenuptial agreement does not carry the same weight as a court order and will not ‘automatically’ be upheld or enforced by an English or Welsh court in the event of a divorce and/or disagreement. The recent case of Radmacher has changed the law and pre-nuptial agreements. If drafted correctly, and with the benefit of legal advice, there’s a good chance it may be binding.
The courts do however take them more seriously nowadays, as a prenuptial agreement is evidence of your intentions to one another in the event of your relationship breakdown and one of the factors that a court may take into account when looking at all the circumstances of your case.

The courts will carefully look at things like:

  • Did the party with the most to lose understand the nature of the prenuptial agreement?
  • Was he/she under pressure to sign?
  • Was there full financial disclosure?
  • Would an injustice be done if the prenuptial agreement were to be upheld?
  • Did he/she have independent legal advice?


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